Senate votes to increase wind energy funding

Senate votes to increase wind energy funding
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The Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that would keep funding for wind energy research and development at its current level and restore a cut that appropriators had put into their bill.

The amendment, from Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyMcConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | 'Father of EPA' dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback Warren bill would revoke Medals of Honor for Wounded Knee massacre MORE (D-Ore.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump escalates fight over tax on tech giants Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Democrats on trade Push to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war MORE (R-Iowa), would provide $95.4 million for the Department of Energy’s wind program, up from the $80 million in the bill proposed by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderRick Perry says Trump is the 'chosen one' sent 'to do great things' Impeachment will make some Senate Republicans squirm Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Tenn.).

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Alexander, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees energy and water spending bill, is a frequent critic of wind energy, which he says gets too much government assistance and should compete on its own.

“We have sometimes heard that wind is a mature industry and that that is why the funding for research should be revoked or lowered,” Merkley said on the Senate floor.

“But, in fact, as wind is emerging, we're seeing continuous innovations that are resulting in different designs and different strategies for integrating intermittent wind energy into the grid,” he said. “As that wind component becomes substantially larger, we need to understand the details about how we accommodate it effectively.”

Alexander defended the funding level in the original bill.

“I wonder if the American taxpayers wouldn't think that $32 billion is enough to spend on giant windmills,” Alexander said. “That's the amount that the Congressional Research Service has said that Congress has spent of taxpayers' money to subsidize wealthy people so they can build giant wind turbines across America.”

The amendment passed 54-42.

The Senate also voted to pass a bipartisan measure from Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDoctors are dying by suicide every day and we are not talking about it Impeachment trial throws curveball into 2020 race Harry Reid: Early voting states Iowa, New Hampshire 'not representative of the country anymore' MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) to add $50 million to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ pilot projects aimed at conserving water in the Colorado River Basin.

Senators voted to reject a proposal from Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) to defund federal support for local and state environmental projects through the Army Corps.